On Monday State Department spokesman Mark Toner admitted that Syria’s Bashar as-Assad regime purchases Islamic State oil. In other words, ISIS is receiving revenue from the officially recognized Syrian government. That revenue stream funds ISIS operations and undoubtedly enables things like the Paris attacks.
Bombing ISIS-controlled oil facilities wouldn’t fiscally starve the terror state, but it would levy a blow against their capabilities. So why haven’t we Shed Islamic State blood by way of strikes against those facilities?
There are a number of theories that try and explain this:
– It could be the administration fears the environmental consequences of blowing up oil infrastructure. (One would think that as green oriented as this administration is they would love the opportunity to hit big dirty oil).
– It could simply be one more example in a long line of examples of Obama incompetence.
– It could be reflective of the administration’s broader aversion towards doing much of anything in Syria.
Why is there such an unwillingness to act against ISIS in Syria?
The al-Assad regime is allied with Iran. Syria and Iran have a long standing relationship going back several decades. In the 1980s Syria sided with Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. Iran has long used Syria as a conduit to influence Shia groups in Lebanon’s Bekka Valley. Iran has a vested interest in sustaining the Assad government.
Obama has a tremendous interest in brokering deals with Tehran. Secretary of Personality John Kerry spent months working on the Iranian nuke deal. For many progressives, reconciliation with Iran remains a priority item on their to-do list. The nuke deal maintained Obama’s street cred with progressives while massaging his legacy.
Is that why Obama has declined to strike one of the Islamic State’s main sources of funding?